Charles Badger Clark
The Long Way - Poem by Charles Badger Clark
Two miles of ridin' from the school, without a bit of trouble—
The main road hit her father's ranch as straight as you could fall.
I led her by a shorter cut that made the distance double
And guided her along a trail that wasn't there at all.
The long way, the long way, but ridin' it together
I never cared a feather for the length and never shall,
With happy hoofs that shuffled to the singin' saddle leather
And laughin' wind that ruffled sunny miles of chaparral.
The trail of our meanderin' would tire a wolf to follow;
The range was hardly wide enough for us to go around.
I dared to hope she liked it, bare hill and thorny hollow,
And prayed that all her likin' wasn't wasted on the ground.
The long way, the long way, and down the wind we drifted,
And soon the sand was sifted in our tracks and they were gone,
I dreamed of no forgettin' while to me her face was lifted,
Nor knowed the sun was settin', for her eyes were full of dawn.
Perhaps I hoped that we were lost without a trail to guide us.
It shocked me like a bullet when the dogs began to bark,
And suddenly, from nowhere, the ranch was there beside us,
She reined away and left me, and the world was in the dark.
The long way, the long way, of all my old Septembers,
Gone gray like campfire embers when the midnight coyote shrills,
One hour stays golden mellow—do you reckon she remembers
That sunset fadin' yellow through the notches of the hills?
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